Tuesday, May 10, 2016

When does "healthy eating" become unhealthy?

Writing in the Daily Telegraph (UK), Linda Blair says concentrating on healthy eating too much of the time can slide over into a psychological problem.

The DSM (list of mental disorders) recognizes three types of eating disorder--anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

All three are based on fear of losing control over food intake.

Bulimia and binge-eating are characterized by eating too much, and bulimia balances the eating with vomiting or laxative use to prevent weight gain. These two are more common than anorexia.

Now, a fourth disorder has surfaced and been named orthorexia nervosa, though it's not yet in the DSM. This is when a person shows a disproportionate focus on healthy eating and feelings of anxiety and disgust when presented with "unhealthy" foods. This has also been called "food fear" or "fatphobia." Often it is accompanied by "cleanses" and fasts.

How do you know if you are going over into orthorexia?

--Your concerns about food are increasing.

--Food excites fear, anxiety, dread, and guilt.

--You separate foods into "good" and "bad."

If this sounds like you, maybe you should talk to a doctor or nutritionist about a more varied diet and relaxed approach to food--it actually is delicious and enjoyable and not your enemy.

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